How to Make Money as a Freelance Blogger (and Actually Enjoy Your Work)

by | Jan 27, 2014 | Blogging | 44 comments

High-speed internet connection? Check. Laptop? Check. Dedication, ambition and a love for putting pen to paper? Check, check, check.

You’re ready to make money as a freelance blogger and land blogging jobs. You’re just not sure how to do it.

The good news is that other people have done it. These bloggers have made more than a buck or two by freelance blogging, which proves that it’s possible! You can make your living — and then some — in this field.

How to prove your worth as a freelance blogger

It’s time to learn from the best in the biz. We talked with successful writers who make money from freelance blogging to see what worked for them. Follow their tips to get started on your successful freelance blogging career.

Here’s how to make money from freelance blogging.

1. Find your niche

If you’re a jack of all trades, master of none, you won’t make much money freelance blogging. Why not?

Because you won’t stand out as an expert on anything.

You can demand higher rates if you are a subject matter expert. Your niche will help here – tremendously.”
Marya Jan of Writing Happiness

2. Start your own blog

Since you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have a writing portfolio. If you have nothing to entice clients to hire you, why would they? They’ll go with someone who already has some experience, which leaves you back at square one.

But if you have your own blog and can submit samples of your own posts, you’ll be able to prove to clients off-the-bat that you’re hireable. (If you want guidance on this, here’s our step-by-step guide to starting a blog.)

“If you want to become a successful freelance blogger then you should create a successful blog. It doesn’t have to be the next Mashable (when I landed my first job my blog was attracting just forty visitors per day), but a successful blog is practical evidence of your abilities.”
Tom Ewer of Leaving Work Behind

3. Keep blogging on your own

Once you start landing freelance blogging gigs, it’s important to keep up your personal blog — even though you aren’t paying yourself to do so. Focus on growing your community and providing relevant content. The next step is finding a way to monetize your personal blog so it can become another revenue stream.

“Once you’ve built up a following, you can also sell e-books, courses, and other products to your readers — or market yourself as a writer in your industry.”
Linda Formichelli, formerly of The Renegade Writer

4. Blog only for readers you want

You want to be a freelance blogger so you can have the freedom to work from wherever — ideally from a sunny beach while sipping a Mai Tai. Although that isn’t a realistic vision of what it really means to be a freelance blogger, keep that vision in mind anyway. The idea is that a flexible job gives you freedom.

If you’re working for a difficult client or writing a blog post on something you couldn’t care less about, it doesn’t matter how beautiful that beach is or how delicious that Mai Tai tastes. You’ll be miserable.

Every project you say “yes” to means you have less room to say “yes” to another project. So make sure everything on your plate is something you really want and can handle.”
Kelly Gurnett of Cordelia Calls It Quits

5. Seek out regular clients

Time is money, and every time you start working with a new client, you’ll have to spend (sometimes unpaid) time getting to know the client, their expectations and their style. With long-term clients, you’ll have a more steady income and can even negotiate a higher rate down the road.

I work with a handful of long terms clients and spend next to no time on marketing and administration. It is highly rewarding to know that the vast majority of the work I do on my freelance business is directly earning me money. My hourly rate really is my hourly rate.”
Tom Ewer of Leaving Work Behind

6. Speed up

Simply put, the faster you type, the more blog posts you can crank out and the more money you can make. So if you can’t type quickly or you make a lot of typing errors, get to work on improving your speed and become a more efficient typist.

“It may sound trivial, but it really isn’t. If you are interested in writing for a living, learning to type faster is effectively a business investment.”
Tom Ewer of Leaving Work Behind

7. Blog for free

Wait, isn’t this a post about making money as a freelance blogger? Hear me out.

Do you want to get your name out there and in front of clients who have potential to pay a lot? Do you want to prove you’re an awesome writer without having to beg clients to give you a chance? Writing for free is your answer to all of the above. Writing for free is how you make money down the road.

Writing for free helps you gain visibility and develop a network of people who will actually pay for something you offer, so long as you’re smart enough to monetize that opportunity.”
Alexis Grant, founder of The Write Life

8. Be prepared to write quite a lot — and then quite a lot more

Yes, freelance blogging is a cushy work-from-your-couch job that doesn’t even require wearing pants. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s still hard work.

Freelance blogging can be a bit of a grind. So if you think this is about resting on your laurels, think again.

“Yes, this isn’t that moonshot way of earning that so many are dreaming of, where you monetize your own blog and make six figures on autopilot. This is an everyday, working-class sort of way to earn from blogging. Simply helping publications and companies communicate powerfully with their readers and customers.”
Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing

9. When the time is right, increase your rates

When you land your first freelance blogging gig, it’s likely not going to pay lucratively. That’s okay. But as you gain more experience and know your clients want to keep you around, it’s time to raise your rates and start making more money.

“Look, as a freelancer, there’s no boss giving you an appraisal and deciding that it’s time to beef up your paycheck. That’s up to you. Most experienced freelancers I know will raise their rates every year or so (unless the economy is tanking). If nothing else, raise your rate according to the rate of inflation. If you don’t, you’re effectively losing money.”
Mridu Khullar Relph of MriduKhullar.com

10. Step the f*ck up

You don’t know if you’re good enough. You don’t have tons of experience. You don’t really know what you’re doing.

Enough with the excuses.

If you want to be a successful freelance blogger, then you need to adjust your attitude, clean your slate of all those excuses and get started already. Because one thing is for sure. Your freelance blogging “career” will continue to make you zilch for the rest of your life if you don’t start somewhere.

“Deciding that you simply don’t have the confidence to talk to people about your freelance blogging services, or to apply for an advertised gig, is like deciding that you’re too shy to call emergency services when someone’s lying wounded at your feet. Excusing yourself from freelance blogging because you don’t know where to begin is like excusing yourself from eating cake because you don’t know where to slice it.”
Sophie Lizard of Be a Freelance Blogger

Excusing yourself from freelance blogging because you don’t know where to begin is like excusing yourself from eating cake because you don’t know where to slice it.

How have you developed your freelance blogging career?